Is a Devout Catholic About to Lead the EU?
The European Union is in election mode. More than ever, people are demanding answers and solutions to Europe’s crises. The EU as a whole, powerful as it is, has failed to provide its citizens with a sense of reassurance. But there is a man campaigning to change all of that. He promises to give Europe back to its citizens, and to return the Continent to its Christian roots.
The man set to replace EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in 2019 is Manfred Weber, currently heading the European People’s Party. European elections are scheduled for May 23 to 26. The new Parliament will vote for the EU’s next Commission president in July. While the elections are still a few months away, some have called on Juncker for an early resignation.
The fact that Weber is seen as the most likely candidate to replace Juncker gives a strong indication that the EU is heading toward a drastic turning point. The Roman Catholic Weber hails from Bavaria, Germany’s most Catholic state, and is a member of Germany’s most Catholic party, the Christian Social Union. Moreover, he is openly promoting his religious faith and believes that the EU as a whole should do the same.
Many commentators believe 2019 will decide whether Europe breaks or thrives. With its recent move away from the United States, and the ongoing refugee crisis and financial crisis, Europe urgently needs solutions. For decades, the Trumpet and its predecessor, the Plain Truth, have declared that Europe will return to its Christian roots in an attempt to solve its crises.
Manfred Weber campaigns on that promise. His campaign successes show that secular Europe is about to radically transform.
The EU’s Drift Toward Secularism
Weber stands in stark contrast with the average Brussels decision-maker. His open devotion to the Catholic faith is an anomaly within the European Union, which has, in recent decades, drifted toward secularism. Former member of the European Parliament Bernd Posselt lamented in Germany’s Bayernkurier, “Many politicians in Europe want to strictly separate religion and politics. They forget that essential achievements of the Continent are based on the Christian faith” (February 24; Trumpet translation throughout).
Weber is fully aware of Europe’s Christian history, and this history shapes his thinking. He is a devout Catholic and openly advocates his religious faith. In a video that sums up his candidacy, Weber is seen taking the holy water in a Catholic church. In an interview with German Tagespost, he said, concerning the video: “No segment like the one with the holy water caused so many responses, even in Cyprus and France. It wasn’t meant to be missionary, but a commitment to one’s own identity.”
Weber’s approach isn’t that abnormal considering the EU’s history. The Union’s foundation was laid with the Christian faith in mind. Posselt recounted how the European Parliament building in Strasbourg was designed in accordance with the Strasbourg Cathedral, as a symbol of Western Christianity. The view from the parliament building is Strasbourg Cathedral. The pillars in the main hall have a cross-shaped floor plan, symbolizing Europe’s Christian foundation in culture and identity. Similar symbolism is found in the EU’s headquarters buildings in Brussels. One building is even named after one of Europe’s early Christian emperors: Charlemagne.
Despite the architects’ efforts to keep Christianity within sight of EU leaders, the politicians have lost view of Europe’s Christian roots. Thus Weber’s open devotion to Catholicism has also received many frowns.
“There are certainly people who see it critically,” Weber said, “but you have to handle that with confidence. The church and state have different relations in Europe. I certainly don’t want to change that. The diversity must be respected. But you also can’t reproach me in how I handle it. I see my faith as part of my personality.” He further explained:
I have been Catholic since my childhood. I have had and am fortunate enough to find faith as something natural. For me it is a gift. I believe that God is love that this love becomes human, as human it gives us people orientation, how we can make life successful. … This is a wonderful and beautiful idea. I am supported by faith; I’m happy about it. It gives me strength.
Weber is not dissuaded by the EU’s secularism—he is passionately committed to bring Europe back to its religious roots.
A Catholic Upbringing
On his website, Weber wrote: “During my voluntary work at the kljb (Catholic Rural Youth Movement)—as a trumpet player in the church brass instrument group—and my contribution to village life, I gained vital life experience. For me, my home is my identity.” When he announced his candidacy for the highest office in the EU in 2018, German Catholic news website domradio.de published an article titled “A Bavarian and a Catholic for Europe?” The article recounted how Weber’s Catholic upbringing almost inevitably led him to join the Christian Social Union in Bavaria. He was first elected to the Bavarian State Parliament in 2002 and became chairman of the Young Union Bavaria in 2003. From there, he decided to continue his career in the European Parliament rather than pursue a high leadership role on the national level, which many considered to be more important.
All along, Weber kept his Catholic homeland and upbringing in mind. The article recounted: “As much as he enjoys working for Europe, he feels very rooted in his homeland, which also includes being Catholic.”
Weber is also a member of the National Committee of Catholics in Bavaria and the Central Committee of German Catholics, and he presides over the circle of Friends of the Benedictine Abbey of Rohr.
“Weekly church attendance is no duty for me; rather, it is an enriching and spiritual experience,” Weber wrote on his website. “Christianity enriches my life, inducing a sense of continuity and stability in an increasingly fast-paced world. In the past, I regularly spent time in monasteries to foster spirituality and gain renewed momentum.”
Weber’s campaign rhetoric reveals how his faith will shape the EU in the future.
Religion Guides Weber’s Politics
Weber doesn’t deny that his religious upbringing guides his politics. He encourages others to take a similar approach. In reply to Tagespost’s question about whether his religion shapes his political style, he said: “I have always tried to practice a style that is honest and argumentative, but allows for competition and makes an offer. There was never the need or temptation for me to go another way. I would never deny other politicians to walk the sincere way, even if they are not Christians.”
Weber’s religious and historic perspective also give him a clear course of action when it comes to the topic of European culture. In an interview with Die Welt, Weber said: “As a religion that gives historical-cultural identity, Islam belongs just as little to Europe as it belongs to Germany.” Rather than letting Islam shape Europe, Weber believes that Germany and Europe need a guiding culture founded on Christian values.
Weber campaigns on the promise to do more for the protection and rights of Christians worldwide.
He believes that Turkey, an Islamic nation, should have no part in the European Union. He is campaigning on the promise to immediately end membership negotiations once he assumes office. Weber also takes a tough stance against immigration. He promotes a closed border and the strict implementation of deportation laws.
In Brussels, Weber furthers the dialogue between Hungarian President Viktor Orbán and Brussels. Orbán has pleaded for years with the EU to turn Europe into a Christian state. EU bureaucrats have long demanded the exclusion of Orbán’s party, the Fidesz, from the European Parliament, which Weber does not support. While Weber and Orbán share some of the same ideologies, Weber is much keener to present his ideas in a way that is acceptable to the rest of the EU.
One of Weber’s close friends and colleagues is Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Weber has said that Kurz “proved that one can persuade the citizens for the politics we represent and for Europe in using civic and Christian Democratic messages.” On social media and through various joint appearances, Kurz and Weber have shown their solidarity. Kurz fully supports Weber’s candidacy for the European Commission presidency.
The two are joined by their Catholic faith, which Kurz also openly promotes. In his article “The Holy Roman Empire Goes Public—Big Time!” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry noted:
Kurz is only 32 years old, but he captured the imagination of his countrymen, and they promoted him to lead the nation. He is very popular in Austria, and also across Europe! He is looked up to as a key figure in European politics.
Kurz is close to the archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, whom several authorities believe could become the next pope. When he was foreign minister, Kurz sought the counsel of a Catholic priest on how to deal with the migrant crisis. The actions he took after that meeting actually stopped the influx of migrants into Germany and Eastern Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed his actions, calling them anti-humanitarian. But Kurz believed his actions aligned with his Catholic faith. …
This is hardly the first time that religion has been featured in European politics. In fact, Kurz is just trying to resurrect a role that his native Austria played for centuries: as the heart of the Holy Roman Empire—the most powerful and infamous church-state combine in all human history.
Read all of Mr. Flurry’s article to learn more about how Kurz promotes religion and Europe’s history. Together, Kurz and Weber play a crucial role in the resurrection of Europe’s historic church-state combine.
‘A Leitmotif That Provides Orientation for the Future’
“I use [the term Christian Occident] because I believe that this Continent must, more than ever, seek its roots,” Weber told Tagespost. “Those traveling through Europe experience a great variety of languages, cultures, history. But there is an overarching commonality: Almost every town and almost every village has a Christian church! This Continent is deeply influenced by Christianity. That is a fact that can, of course, not be brushed aside. But the question is what does that mean for us today? This is not for the museum, but it is rather a leitmotif that provides orientation for the future.”
Indeed, there is one thing that Europe has in common and that is its Christian (Catholic) heritage. Weber desires to once again make this Christian heritage the guiding theme for Europe’s politics and its future.
Through religion, Weber wants to again unite Europe and bridge the gap between the ruling class and its citizens. He already wields a lot of influence in the EU, and he is building friendships and connections to make this vision a reality.
The upcoming European elections might leave Europe in greater despair than ever. Parties that promote anti-EU ideologies are on the rise. The formerly strong mainstream parties have been shaken and are in decline. The European Parliament, the national governments and European citizens themselves face an ever greater challenge to find common ground and unity.
Weber says the one thing that all of Europe has in common is its religion. He believes this religious heritage must be the glue to unify Europe again.
Late theologian Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in the January 1979 Plain Truth, “In only one way can this resurrected Holy Roman Empire be brought to fruition—by the ‘good offices’ of the Vatican, uniting church and state once again, with the Vatican astride and ruling.”
Referring to Revelation 13 and 17, Mr. Flurry wrote in the November 1996 Trumpet: “The Catholic Church is going to unite and then guide the European Union, or the king of the north—with Germany as the real power behind it.”
A staunch Catholic German at the head of the organization could certainly help lead to the fulfillment of this prophecy.
But while Weber may, in one way or another, play a key role in the fulfillment of this prophecy, we at the Trumpet believe that another staunch Catholic will ultimately be at the helm of the prophesied resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire: Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.
Incidentally, Weber is also a close friend of Guttenberg and in regular contact with him. The ideology that currently unites Guttenberg, Kurz and Weber in their quests is prophesied to soon unite Europe for a final time.
The Bible prophesies that Europe will again unite through the workings of the Roman Catholic Church, symbolized by a beast ridden by a woman in Revelation 17. Once again, it will unite under the leadership of one man, an overarching emperor. Europe’s leaders will work for one common cause: the resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire. To learn more about Europe’s prophesied future and how it will come about, request a free copy of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.